Islamic State of Lanao
Khalifa Islamiah Mindana
Khalifa Islamiyah Mindanao (KIM)
Maute and Hapilon led the Islamic State-inspired militants that occupied Marawi City 23 May 2017, which prompted the president to place the entire Mindanao under martial law. Maute and Hapilon were killed in an early morning encounter in Marawi 17 October 2017 and hours later Duterte declared that the city has been liberated from terrorists. Ground and aerial bombardment left Marawi in ruins. Nearly 1,000 people were killed; 160 of them soldiers.
Even as the five-month-old armed conflict in Marawi City is finally over, government forces had yet to clear the bombs and booby traps left by the Islamic State-inspired Maute group. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Eduardo Año said 26 October 2017 that despite the semblance of normalcy, soldiers are still doing damage assessment and physical clearing within the main battle area. “There’s no reported fighting as of this time. And the first thing that we are now doing is conducting battle assessment and physical clearing, not of the enemies but of bombs and improvised explosive devices (IED) that might have been left in the area," he added. Twenty-two battalions from the Army, Air Force and Navy were deployed to liberate Marawi from the Maute group.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared the entire Mindanao under martial law (for 60 days) on May 23. But right after the declaration of martial law, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced that the situation there is already "under control." As of 18 June 2017, the military said it has killed 257 terrorists and recovered 250 firearms. Sixty-two government forces have been killed in action. Twenty-six civilians had been confirmed killed by terrorists.
The Maute Group calls itself Daulah Islamiyah, Islamic State of Lanao, and Khalifa Islamiah Mindana. The Maute brothers had strong family ties to Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders, which initially gave them access to the resources and training areas of the mainstream insurgent group. Omar and Abdullah Mauteo were both once members ofMILF, and their father Cayamora Maute was a senior official of the MILF. The Mautes were critical of the MILF leadership and broke away from the organization. Forming their own group in 2012, they pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in April 2015, though the group was not immendiately classified as an ISIS member.
The Khalifa Islamiyah was originally an “umbrella organization" of local operatives of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Abu Sayyaf (ASG). Originally called al-Ghuraba [a name used by AQI's Abu Musa Zarqawi], then Jamaah Tawhid wal Jihad, the outfit settled on Khalifa Islamiah Mindanao in 2012. The Khalifa Islamic Mindanao (KIM) was also known as Black Flag Movement, Khalifa Islamiyah Mindanao, and Khilafah Islamiyah Mindanao - Black Flag Movement (KIM-BFM). The Mautes probably started carrying out terrorist attacks in Mindanao in 2013.
In October 2014 Brig-Gen Kakilala, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' strategic studies unit, said a particular concern was the emergence of the Khalifa Islamiyah Mindanao, which is fighting to turn Mindanao into an Islamic republic, an "umbrella organisation" for "existing and emerging jihadist groups" with direct ties to ISIS.
But by early 2015 the Philippine Army declined to comment on reports of the existence of the Khalifa Islamiyah Mindanao (KIM), which reportedly has links to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Local and foreign members of the supposed terror group had been seen on several occasions since 2012 in BIFF and MILF camps in Lanao and Maguidanao. They first grabbed national attention in the Philippines when they raided the prison in Marawi in August 2016, freeing 23 inmates. They took over the town of Butig in late 2016 and again in January 2017. Despite heavy losses, they continued to clash with the troops sent in to deal with them.
The stench of death has been reported from areas of Marawi city since militants launched their attack on 23 May 2017. The most serious attack in Southeast Asia so far by IS-aligned militants displaced most of the more than 200,000 residents of Marawi. The militants who have besieged the southern Philippine city included foreign fighters and local gunmen who want to establish a regional branch of the Islamic State group. Abdullah Maute's followers account for a large number of the estimated 400-500 fighters who overran part of the town, killing Christians and taking dozens of civilians hostage.
Abu Sayyaf group leader Isnilon Hapilon, was proclaimed by Islamic State in 2016 as its emir of Southeast Asia. But Hapilon moved to Lanao del Sur, on the main island of Mindanao, apparently after being badly injured in a firefight in late 2016. On 23 May 2017, combined government forces conducted a raid in a house in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur. The raid targeted Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon. Hapilon's forces fought back, and called for reinforcements from the Maute Group, a relatively new grouping.
Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Eduaro M. Año told AP that the images showed an intention to dismember “a portion of the Philippine territory by occupying the whole of Marawi City and establishing their own Islamic state or government." Seized video footage, which showed Isnilon Hapilon and others planning to take hostages from a school, seal off roads and capture a highway. “It was clear that these terrorists, the Maute group, their end goal is to make Marawi... independent, or to separate from the Republic," Senator Joseph Victor Gomez Ejercito told Reuters. “With a plan like this, this is already rebellion and a threat to national security, so declaration of martial law is justified," he added.
A new and potentially more dangerous then alliance emerged, combining Abu Sayyaf with at least three other small, hardline insurgent forces. The Maute group is one of them, founded around 2012 by the brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute, natives of Lanao del Sur and members of the Maranao clan. Both studied in the Middle East: Omar at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, and Abdullah in Jordan. Both speak Arabic, unlike Isnilon Hapilon, and are well-versed in Salafi and jihadist theology.
By June 09, 2017 the government is hunting at elast 230 individuals — including incumbent and former politicians — who supported or financed the Maute terrorist group that attacked Marawi City and led President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao. “These are local politicians. Some of them were defeated in the 2016 polls. Others are persons of influence," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told Manila Standard. These individuals form part of some 230 persons of interest whom Lorenzana, as martial law administrator, ordered arrested.
In Arrest Order No. 1, Lorenzana directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation to arrest more than a hundred individuals for “killing, kidnapping, [and] bombings in Marawi City, sowing terror to the populace."
Cayamora Maute, father of brothers Omar and Abdullah who are fighting government troops in Marawi City, was arrested on Tuesday at a checkpoint in Toril, Davao City. He was arrested with his daughter, Norjanah Maute. Former Marawi Mayor Fahad Salic was nabbed at a checkpoint Wednesday evening for rebellion. Lorenzana said Salic was connected to the terrorist group “by affinity" as his wife, Rasmia, is a cousin of the Maute brothers.
Others on the lists include Fahad’s brother Solitario Salic and his son Wahad. Solitario also previously served as Marawi City mayor and was a former commander of the Moro National Liberation Front; Samer Salic, a former city market head of Marawi City; Abu Dar, who allegedly coordinates with foreign terrorists, and bomb expert Najib Pundog, who were both able to escape when the military overran a Maute-Abu Sayyaf encampment in Lanao del Sur in April.
Hashim Maute (alias Apple Jehad), Hata Macabanding Lantud and Omar Khalil, also known as Umair Pacora Khalil, who were arrested in August last year in Marawi City. Khalil was positively identified by the police as being the same Umair who held the decapitated heads of two abducted sawmill workers in April 2016. They were freed by their comrades in a jailbreak four days after they were arrested; Junaid Kiram Undac, allegedly a member of another ISIS-inspired group, Khilafah Islamiya Movement, and who was arrested in June 2015 when he and his men attacked a soldier in Marawi City; Edris Bao and Nassif Macadato, who both ran and lost for mayor of Butig, Lanao del Sur in the 2016 polls.
President Rodrigo Duterte on 01 June 2017 said the illegal drug trade fuels local terror groups' activities. He said Marawi City is a "bedrock" for shabu manufacturing. On 19 June 2017 at least 11 kilos of methamphetamine or shabu with an estimated street value of up to P250 million (over $5 million), drug paraphernalia, and high-powered firearms were seized by the military in a house it believed to be a Maute group stronghold. The Maute group use shabu to keep them awake and give them the energy to fight, said said 49th Infantry Battalion Captain Eric Estrevillo. "They use it so they can last long in the fight, so the fight can last longer. They use it to keep themselves awake."
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